Enjoy Your Meal!
When angela roth's daughter, Ellie, was a newborn, Roth daydreamed about all the neat places she would take her when she was a toddler. One of the places she had in mind was a health-conscious, fun restaurant designed especially for kids.
Before long, Roth realized it would be up to her to actually create the restaurant she envisioned. So she researched how to write a business plan, sought assistance from the SBA's SCORE program and attended business classes at a local community college. Eventually, the former graphic artist obtained an SBA-backed loan for $70,000. Coupled with an additional $16,000 in savings and $2,500 borrowed from Roth's family and friends, Peanut Butter & Ellie's was finally born.
"If you're going to have a fun place for kids, it needs to be unique," says Roth, 31, who expects that the restaurant's first-year sales will reach $180,000. "There has got to be something that draws them in."
At Peanut Butter & Ellie's, kids can sit alone at tables just their size, sit with their parents or even host a party. What's more, they are allowed to make a mess, be as noisy as they want, write or draw on an entire wall that's covered in chalkboard paint, play with puzzles and toys, participate in various art activities, run around in the grassy backyard play area and eat at picnic tables.
Kids also love the healthy menu consisting of assorted sandwiches (most are peanut butter topped with fruit jams, raisins, bananas and the like) and fun snacks (such as ants on a log and fruit smoothies)--all made with organic ingredients. And their parents appreciate the bottomless coffee!
Music to Their Ears
What: An agency that finds
music for commercials and other projects
Who: Beth Urdang and Dawn Madell of Agoraphone
Where: New York City
When: Started in 1999
Whether they're promoting computers, cars or candy, advertisers these days are increasingly seeking music for their audio-branding campaigns. To Beth Urdang and Dawn Madell, two executives who both had experience in the advertising and music industries, the marketing trend looked like a promising opportunity--so they paired up to start a business.
When Urdang and Madell first launched Agoraphone, they worked from home to develop a music library comprising well-known and underground scores from a variety of genres and continents. Today, when advertisers need music to fit their branding campaigns, they are able to license prerecorded or original scores directly from Agoraphone. Recent big-name clients like Mitsubishi, Nike, Saturn and Vodafone are helping to drive year-end sales toward the $250,000 mark.
Looking to the future, the partners, both 32, hope their company will expand its horizons by venturing into television. Says Urdang, "It's not a question of moving from one into another, but the goal of [our] company is to do as many different formats and types of media as possible."
Clean and Green
What: Oral-care products
made from recycled plastics
Who: Eric Hudson of Recycline Inc.
Where: Somerville, Massachusetts
When: Started in 1996
eric hudson always knew he wanted to start an environmentally friendly business. So when he first noticed an apparent rise in consumer interest in recycling-yet few compelling products made from recycled materials-he decided to do something about it.
After raising $300,000 in equity capital, he established an expert dental panel to help him design a toothbrush made entirely from recycled materials. His Preserve brand of oral-care products launched a year later in 1997. Today, the line includes an adult toothbrush, a kid's toothbrush and a tongue cleaner.
"[My motivation] is becoming a an innovative and ground-breaking consumer products company that delivers [items] to consumers that they use not only [for practical purposes], but also to preserve our resources on earth," says Hudson, 40.
The environmentally sound products, which are sold in Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Wild Oats stores nationwide, sell for $2.79 to $3.95. Sales are poised to reach $1 million by the end of this year, now that Recycline is in the process of introducing the Preserve line in general grocery and drugstores.
Recycline has partnered with numerous corporations and uses those companies' pre- and post-consumer waste, as well as any post-industrial scraps generated on production lines, to make the Preserve products. It's an effort Hudson hopes to expand in the future: "We are starting a services division where we help companies develop waste-reduction systems and source recycled materials."